|LOA||49 ft., 10 in.|
|Beam||14 ft., 1 in.|
|Draft||3 ft., 9 in.|
|Engines||Twin 370 hp Volvo Penta IPS500|
|Twin 370 hp Volvo Penta IPS500 engines with pod drives, joystick steering, electric anchor windlass, 32-inch flatscreen TV in salon, refrigerator/freezer, ice-maker, electric stove, and more.|
|Navigation and communications electronics from Simrad, custom hull and deck colors, genset, bow thruster, flybridge electric grill and refrigerator, transom galley unit, retractable electric sun awning, third joystick control in aft cockpit, dishwasher, washer/dryer, and more.|
|Beneteau, France; beneteau.com, beneteauusa.com|
|West Coast Dealer|
|South Coast Yachts, San Diego;
(619) 224-7784, scyachts.com
Passage Yachts, Point Richmond, Calif.;
Denison Yacht Sales, Seattle;
Westerly Yacht Sales, Vancouver, B.C.;
Posted: September 1, 2014 | Boat Type: Motoryacht
A great boat for dock-to-dock coastal cruising and weekendingSomething old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence in her shoe. The old English rhyme details the “somethings” a bride should wear on her wedding day for good luck, and it seems Beneteau borrowed its advice — with the exception of the now-defunct sixpence — when developing the new Monte Carlo (MC) 5, part of the builder’s line of power cruisers that addresses each point.
The MC5’s retro styling, with round portlights and a straight shear, evokes old-school design sensibilities, but at the same time it is a brand-new model with every modern amenity and advanced technology available. Its Italian flare and luxury finish were borrowed from Beneteau’s upscale line of Monte Carlo Yachts (MCY), 65 feet and larger. And while you don’t have to choose a blue hull, it looks good.
Monte Carlo is a line of mid-range power cruisers created to bring the MCY line below 65 feet and bridge the gap between Beneteau’s GT series and the upscale MCY, which reaches into superyacht territory. With 40- and 50-footers already launched and a 60-footer on the drawing board, Beneteau hopes to cover all segments of a diverse market with the MC series.
Construction & Design
Seen from the front, the 49-foot MC5 has a distinctive, wine glass–shaped bow with a deep V and hard chines that lead aft. Above that, the bow flares dramatically as if to catch up with the on-deck beam above. However, go aft and you’ll find a relatively flat transom with only a 15-degree deadrise. The hull shape accomplishes three things:
1. It keeps the bow driving forward by splitting waves instead of pounding down onto them, thereby minimizing spray on deck.
2. It keeps the aft end of the boat from rolling.
3. It adds lift and efficiency.
Naval architects Le Bihan and Tableau also gave the balsa-cored hull a beamy fore-section and nearly straight hull sides, so the beam at the waterline is almost what it is on deck, which creates the tremendous interior living volume.
The Great Outdoors
The MC5 is available in a hardtop or flybridge version, and for my money, the flybridge can’t be beat. It’s as if there’s a whole boat’s worth of space planted right on top of the boat itself. Ascend the teak-covered steps (with storage inside), and you’ll come up to a U-shaped settee that will seat eight around a teak dining table.
The seating continues on the port side with forward- and aft-facing benches that can be joined to form a double sunpad or used for companion seating across from the helm. The single helm seat to starboard is adjustable, and the dash includes a single multifunction display, a joystick and engine controls, a compass, and various other smaller displays and switches. A wraparound reverse windshield keeps the spray away from the driver. Visibility is good in all directions except to the aft corners, which is why a third helm station in the aft cockpit below may be a good option if you often back into a slip. Just aft of the helm seat is a cabinet with an optional galley module that includes a Kenyon electric grill, a sink and an ice-maker.
If it’s too windy to cook up top, you can still enjoy an outdoor grill on the more protected aft cockpit. The top of the transom has a compartment that can be used either for small storage or an outdoor galley with a Kenyon grill, a sink and a food-prep area.
Like many of the other latest designs, the MC5’s interior starts in the exterior, as the cockpit joins the galley and salon when the large glass and stainless steel doors are folded outward on both port and starboard. The galley is all the way aft, so you can easily serve dinner outside or in, and it is somewhat customizable in that additional overhead cabinets may be added, creating room for added refrigeration or a dishwasher below the counters. An electric stove and a large sink are standard, while a microwave is an option. Countertop space is limited, but if you’re already cooking in two other areas, it’ll do nicely.
Step up to the port-side dinette where six can gather around a folding table. To starboard is a straight sofa directly aft of the helm seat. So in all, almost a dozen people can be seated. A 32-inch popup flat-screen TV behind the starboard sofa will make watching movies fun, and even the cook will be able to see the screen from the galley. Headroom in the salon is a comfortable 6 feet, 6 inches, which gives the interior an open and airy feel.
With Nuvolari & Lenard Italian styling, Monte Carlo hints at what the MCY line promises. Surfaces padded with fabric and leather deaden sound, while lacquered cabinetry adds light. The finish is brushed oak, which is light and heavily textured and alternates nicely with the smooth leather accents that abound. Multiple fabrics in contrasting light and dark colors and varied textures add depth and dimension, so the eye lingers on fine details such as perfect stitching and leather-wrapped handholds and cabinet pulls.
At the Helm
Another step up takes you to the inside helm station to starboard. The slight elevation helps with the headroom in the cabin below but retains enough overhead space that the driver can stand up if needed. The dash is well laid out with room for two optional Simrad NSS 12-inch multifunction displays, a Volvo Penta EVC screen, and assorted controls and displays for the autopilot, bow thruster and, of course, the IPS joystick. The window outboard opens, so air is plentiful and communication with anyone on deck or the dock is easy. The helm seat is doublewide with storage underneath, and just to port, underneath the giant one-piece windshield, is storage for charts and cruising guides.
However the MC5 will be used most, it would be a shame not to overnight on it, given the sumptuous staterooms. The layout includes three cabins and two heads, so six can sleep in private comfort, but that’s only the beginning. The full-beam master stateroom is a suite with a generously proportioned bed with a padded headboard and good headroom. In fact, due to the stepped salon above, the headroom all around the bed is 6 feet, 1 inch. Lounges to port and starboard invite you to sit with a book and look out the oversized, fixed, round portlights with opening round ports embedded within.
The master bath — and that’s a better term for it than head — has a vessel sink and a large separate shower stall with a slatted teak seat. There is an opening port in the head, but only one and not in the shower area, so it may get a bit steamy. An electric VacuFlush head is standard. The large stateroom doesn’t feel buried within the vessel, and together with the head, it forms a space plush enough to entice you to linger in the morning before heading topside.
The forward VIP stateroom is defined by light, with four round opening portlights and a deck hatch overhead, and the third stateroom has over/under bunks and locker space at the foot of the beds.
The MC5 is a pod-driven boat, which is good in multiple ways. First, the pods move the engines far aft, creating more interior space for the master stateroom. Second, engine noise is moved farther away from the living spaces. And finally, docking a boat with pod drives and joystick control is a breeze and builds confidence, even in new skippers.
The standard engines are twin Volvo Penta IPS500 370 hp diesels, but you can upgrade to IPS 600s that have 435 hp. The upgrade provides only a knot or two of speed at the top end, but it may help if the boat will be pushing into heavy head seas. The engine space is accessed via a hatch in the aft cockpit sole, and there is plenty of room in the machinery space for the optional generator and extra batteries if the four service batteries (140 aH each) are not enough, although there’s no reason they shouldn’t be.
In the bay of Palma de Mallorca, Spain, we took the MC5 out for a spin on a sunny day with 1 to 2 feet of wind chop and 10 knots of breeze. The boat came up on plane at 16 to 17 knots and did so without fuss. The ride was so smooth we didn’t really notice how fast we were moving until we reached a cruising speed of 18 to 20 knots. Wide open in those conditions, the boat zipped along at 23 knots. Fuel tankage is 344 gallons, which is plenty for point-to-point coastal cruising.
The next day, we tried the same in 15 knots of wind and a 3-foot chop. There was little difference except that we reached 21.8 knots against the wind. The sharp bow split the waves and wasn’t bothered in the least, even in wakes that came broadside. The hydraulic steering was smooth, and there was little roll as we sat idling, waiting for the photo boat to catch up.
I can’t overlook two essential add-ons offered with the MC5, which are meant to ease your movement on water and land. First, the official dinghy for the MC5 is the Williams Tender 285 jet boat (although you can choose a traditional RIB). According to Beneteau, 20 percent of new boat owners in this class want additional water toys such as PWCs but also need a tender, and the quandary is where to store both. Voila. The Williams fiberglass tender can pull double duty. It is an 80 hp jetboat shaped like an inflatable dinghy, but it can reach 35 to 40 knots. It has a tow ring to pull wakeboarders and enough room to get the whole crew to shore; plus, a custom cradle can be mounted on the MC5’s hydraulic swim platform. The jetboat costs $34,000, but since it’s a PWC and a dinghy in one, that’s not bad. You can also have it customized to match your MC5’s hull color.
Once you get to land, run around on the Beneteau-branded Mondo Footloose electric bike. It has a lithium battery, so you can pedal or ride in style up to 28 mph. A charge will last 45 to 60 minutes depending on your speed and terrain. It folds into a small package and can be stored in the huge lazarette in the MC5’s transom. It comes in several colors and offers options such as an upgraded seat and storage panniers. The bike will set you back $5,000-plus but hey, if you’re set on arriving in style, why lose that momentum when you reach the dock?